BATANGAS, Philippines – Hundreds of family and friends of former Batangas congressman Edgar Mendoza gathered Tuesday afternoon, January 14, not to celebrate his birthday, but to say their final goodbye.
The slain politician would’ve turned 70 years old on Wednesday, January 15.
Guests were clad in black shirts that said, “Justice for Ed Mendoza.”
Mendoza was declared dead on January 9 after his remains were found inside a burnt vehicle in Tiaong, Quezon, together with his two companions: driver Ruel Ruiz and aid Nicanor Mendoza. His family reported him missing when he failed to come home last Wednesday evening.
Initial reports disclosed that the bodies had been burnt to the bone, making it difficult to ascertain the identities of the victims, but the vehicle was identified as owned by Mendoza, who was last seen alive on Wednesday, January 8.
Mendoza’s family called on the client, whom he was supposed to meet in Laguna on January 8, to surface and help shed light on Mendoza’s whereabouts before he died.
At Mendoza’s burial on Tuesday, among those present was former Batangas City vice mayor Joe Tolentino, his old friend from the 1980s.
“Pareho kaming konsehal noon, kami ang tinik ng administrasyon, kami ang fiscalizer (We were both councilors then, we were the thorn in the administration’s side, we were the fiscalizers). Sa aking alaala (In my memory), it will take time [to accept what happened]. He is really a very good person,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino said he considered Mendoza his brother and never missed any of his birthday parties.
Despite the slow progress of the case due to its complexity, Tolentino is hoping to get some answers.
“Maraming tanong, sana magkaroon ng kasagutan: Sino ang gumawa at ano ang dahilan? Hindi tayo matatahimik ‘pag hindi natin alam,” he lamented. (There are many questions, which we want answered: Who did this, and why? We will never be at peace until we know.)
Mendoza was brought to his final resting place at the Eternal Gardens in Baragay Balagtas, Batangas City.
In her message, his daughter Paula thanked all those who had been with them in this difficult journey.
“Dama po namin ang pagmamahal ninyo sa aming daddy. Sana po ay ‘wag ‘nyo s’yang makakalimutan sa inyong mga dasal. Maraming salamat sa pamilyang Mendoza dahil matatag pa rin tayo hanggang ngayon. Lakasan pa natin ang ating loob kasi hindi pa tapos ang laban. Kailangan magkaroon ng hustisya para kay Daddy,” she said.
(We feel your love for our father. Please don’t forget him in your prayers. Thank you to the Mendoza family, which remains strong. Let’s be all the more courageous because the battle is not over. Daddy has to be served justice.)
The ex-lawmaker’s sister was very emotional in her farewell.
“How do you say goodbye to a person whom you have loved, admired, and respected all your life? Painful as it is, we have to say goodbye to Kuya Ed,” she said, weeping.
She added: “Alam ko po na kayong lahat na kaibigan namin at nagmamahal sa amin at kaibigan ni Kuya Ed ay kasama namin sa mahabang labang ito (We know that all of our friends and those who love us, and Kuya Ed’s friends, are with us in this fight). Pero alam ko po (I know that), with the help of God’s grace and the people who have been working with us, all the different law enforcement agencies, all of Kuya Ed’s friends, we will be able to get justice for him.” – Rappler.com
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